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The A38-B Iceberg Splits

The A38-B Iceberg Splits

Between April 12 and April 15, the A38-B iceberg split in half. The split was recorded in this series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images. The iceberg was originally part of the massive A-38 iceberg, which broke from the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica around October 13, 1998. At the time, the A-38 iceberg was more than 90 miles (144 km) long and 30 miles (48 km) wide, the largest iceberg that had been observed in a decade. By October 22, 1998, A-38B had started to break off the original iceberg. The pieces drifted about 1,500 nautical miles north to their present location around South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic.

On April 12, 2004, top left, the A-38B iceberg was about 25 nautical miles long. The next time MODIS flew over the iceberg on April 15, top right, A-38B had broken in half. By April 17, lower left, and April 18, lower right, the eastern half of the iceberg had moved quickly north and turned west. The left half of the iceberg seemed to stay in place.

Another section of the A-38 iceberg, A-39D, was covered in melt water ponds as it drifted past South Georgia Island in late January 2004—the height of the summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC